St. Elizabeth's Craig Luetkemeyer and Nick Voss looked for inspiration in some strange places, for both had NBA trading cards stuffed in the laces of their shoes.
It must have worked, though, for they combined to score 19 points and led St. Elizabeth against North Andrew in the Class 2 semifinal on Friday at Hearnes Center.
The Hornets (22-8) trailed for most of the game, but implemented a stifling full-court press in the fourth quarter and used a 9-2 run in the final 6:41 to move ahead 40-32 and force North Andrew to rely on wild, off-balance shots.
According to St. Elizabeth coach T.J. Loethen, it was all part of the game plan.
"We knew if we got them down a little bit that they would force some quick shots," he said. "We put a run on them late in the game and just hung on."
Early on, it appeared North Andrew (25-5) would run away with the game thanks to its shutdown defense, which limited St. Elizabeth to 20 percent shooting and 15 points in the first half.
The Cardinals led 21-15 at the half.
"They played good hard-nosed defense and we weren't ready for it," Loethen said. "We just wanted to keep it close by half."
Marty Bax and Voss led the Hornets with 10 points each.
Anthony Hillyard paced North Andrew with 14 points.